A group of 15 Americans in need of affordable housing crashed a Financial Services hearing on the Hill Wednesday, where FHFA Acting Director Ed DeMarco was speaking, to protest the Bush appointee’s failed policies and demand an end to his tenure.
Caylin Crawford, a St. Paul homeowner fighting her Freddie Mac foreclosure with Occupy Homes MN, was among five arrested after the protesters interrupted DeMarco’s speech with signs reading “Dump DeMarco” and stood up one at a time to demand President Obama dump DeMarco and nominate a permanent director who will implement national principal reduction-- resetting mortgages to fair market value—at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Despite protests of ranking member Maxine Waters (D-CA), even quiet members of the group were removed from the hearing and arrested. The hearing was one of the first opportunities critics have had to be in the same room as DeMarco. It was organized as part of the New Bottom Line’s “Dump DeMarco” campaign in association with Right to the City’s “Homes for All” campaign, which is demanding a national plan on affordable housing from the President.
"DeMarco is kicking my family out of my home. Dump DeMarco! Principal Reduction now!" chanted Ramon Suero, a homeowner facing foreclosure, as he interrupted DeMarco’s speech. “Ed DeMarco’s policies are putting my three kids, my wife, and I out on the street. If the President doesn’t get rid of him, he’s responsible for putting millions of Americans just like me on street as well.” Suero was one of the five people arrested.
See video of Caylin and others interrupting DeMarco here: http://www.c-spanvideo.org/clip/4391418
"I think it's criminal that Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae can get away with breaking the law by withholding money they owe to the National Housing Trust Fund," said Caylin Crawford, who was released late Wednesday afternoon, "and I get arrested for calling them out on it." Caylin was arrested after yelling out in the hearing, "We need affordable housing! Fund the National Housing Trust Fund!"
“DeMarco’s actions are driving millions of Americans into foreclosure and record debt,” said Tracy Van Slyke, Executive Director of The New Bottom Line. “We are fed up, and it is time for President Obama to act on his promises to America’s middle class by dumping DeMarco and nominating a permanent director who will move principal reduction at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and stand with all homeowners and taxpayers.”
DeMarco opposes principal reduction even though it has been documented by both Fannie and Freddie as a good policy for both homeowners and taxpayers.
“Americans are hurting,” said Right to the City’s Executive Director Rachel Laforest. “They are homeless in record numbers, stuck in decaying apartment buildings owned by DeMarco’s Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac banks, and struggling to pay the rent. Ed DeMarco is the single biggest block to affordable and secure housing for millions of Americans. Obama can and must remove him now to allow principal reduction for homeowners to stay in their homes and contributions to the National Housing Trust Fund to create affordable rentals.”
The campaign to Dump DeMarco, which is being run by New Bottom Line, has been heating up for months. On Friday, Senator Stabenow (D-MI) joined 45 Members of Congress in urging the Obama Administration to dump DeMarco. Monday, eight Attorney Generals, including New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley and Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan sent a letter to President Obama asking him to dump DeMarco.